BEST ANIMATION MUSIC VIDEO OF SEASON 14, Read more about song: the Digenes.

Digenes is a medieval hero, whose story survives through the Greek epic poem of the 12th century. What is interesting about both the epic and the hero, is the mythological dimensions given to his story. The narrative of the story also has distinguishable Homeric elements, and clear references to stories like that of the earlier mythological hero, Heracles. The people who codified his story through the epic poem, in this rather mythological manner, knew about the ancient heroes and have read the Homeric epics. So, through him, we celebrate a shared cultural memory of what may almost be, 4 millennia.

To me, Digenes is also special, because where we come from, Cyprus, he is the most celebrated ancient hero. To this day, folk stories about him, are still strong around the island and this, I find very fascinating. For the track we composed, we focus on the story where Digenis duels against the Amazon warrior called Maximo.

What is the origin of the lyrics in the track "Digenes"? What inspired you to choose animation as the visual form for expressing this track?

The lyrics are in medieval Greek and are taken in their original form directly from the epic. At first, we started writing lyrics to fit the song, but in the process, we realised that nothing could match the original narration. Thus, what one can hear in the 4 verses of the track, is a section from the original 12th century epic poem. From there, the idea of an animated video came later. Aesthetically I am a big fan of the Japanese manga and anime sub-culture and considering the exaggerated mythological aspects of the story, I thought an animation video with a Japanese anime aesthetic could match very nicely.

How was the collaboration with the animator on this music video? Can you tell us more about how the animated music video was created and what were the main challenges during its production?

For the video we worked with an amazing animator, Jusep Kurnia. There were no major challenges in the creation of the music video. The biggest one perhaps, was for Jusep, going out of his way to accommodate our idea for the aesthetics, His work is usually darker and more horror-like and we wanted some filter on those. Beyond the aesthetics, Jusep had the full artistic freedom to draw anything out of the story. And the result came to what you see in the music video. We are very proud of it, Jusep was spot on. An amazing artist.


How does the music video for "Digenes" reflect the themes or messages of the track? How do you think the visual elements of the video complement or enhance the musical and lyrical aspects of the track?

The Music Video does a great job portraying the lyrics, even if Jusep artistically chose in some small instances to slightly deviate from them. This is very important as I need to remind, the lyrics are in medieval Greek, and not many non-Greek speakers can understand what the track is about. So, the burden of portraying the story to the non-Greek speaking audience, was all on the animator's shoulders.

This may also be a little funny and odd to say, but the music video is capturing enough, that it somewhat changes the experience of the listener. I only realized this after the feedback I got when the music video was out. I had different feedback about the track before and after the music video. This is a lesson for me. I come from a generation that still buys physical copies of music, be it CD's or vinyl, so I engage with music mostly in an acoustic kind of way. I never really realised how strong of an impact the visuals can have on the music itself.

What was your creative process in making "Digenes"? Can you walk us through how this track came to life, from the initial inspiration to the final version?

The music of the EP that Digenes is a part of, was actually written 13 years ago. I was a very different musician back then from the one I am now. When I was working on new material for a new album with Occult Kenji, I referred back to my backlog of music for inspiration. I ended up shortlisting 12 old tracks that together were a good match for a concept album I had in mind. So, we have older music, sprinkled with the new concept I had in mind. I thought it is critical that I publish my older stuff before I publish the things I compose now, because it lays down my development as a musician. I do not consider myself better today, because music is something very subjective, but I can see my composition style has changed, I am different. For example, I don't compose music to accommodate the lyrics anymore. I work the other way around. I digest the theme I have in mind and compose the music to interpret that. Then, at the end come the lyrics, that must be crafted in such manner to match the music.

How did your fans react to the music video for "Digenes"? What kind of reactions or feedback have you received from your audience after releasing this music video?

The feedback was great, and we really appreciate that. We are also very happy it got the recognition from Europe Music Video Awards, and we consider this a very big honour.

What are your future plans after the release of "Digenes"? Are you working on any new projects or performances that your fans can look forward to? 

Plenty of things coming up to keep me busy and motivated, so we are quite busy these days. There is new material being finalised for Occult Kenji, so If all goes per plan, we hope to have our new album out next year. Musically, people can expect something grandiose and perhaps darker than "Eis Mnemen". 
In parallel, I also have the honour to be a part of Daggr, a new metal band, the brainchild of a great musician and a good friend, Alexander Michaelsson, with a debut album due at the end of this year.